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Kamikaze Cars Report

By: Carsquad (Eugene, Maria, Celia)


7C

Design:
Our goal for the Kamikaze Cars is to make our own car stop at 5 meters after
launching it from a ramp. Our Kamikaze car has to follow some specific rules, we can not
compete it if our kamikaze car has a motor, uses electricity, or if it contains elastic propulsion
(gravity must propel the vehicle). Also we cant complete it if its a pre-assembled car or the
stopping device is remote controlled or electric. We will get a construction penalty (50
points) if a single bent paperclip (to mark the stopping point) isnt placed between the front
and rear axles on the left or right side of the car or if the car isnt marked with names or
team identification.
We researched about the different parts of our car needs and the overall of the car.
Our vehicle will need to be light (but not so light that it doesn't have any traction). We will add
a mechanism within the car using friction that will stop it exactly at 5 meters. The wheels will
need to be straight so the car won't stir to a side. The type of wheels will depend on the
ramp and the type of vehicle. A good braking system will stop our vehicle on the mark, with
precision and accuracy. The braking system we are going to use is the string mode to stop
the car in the most precise way possible.

The Independent variable is the length of the string for the stopping mechanism. The
dependent variable in the Kamikaze car is the length at which it stops. Basically, this means
that we, the scientist, cannot change where it stops directly. Even though, we cant control
the length that the car stops at, we can change the length of the string which helps the car
to stop at the specific number of meters at which it is needed to stop. The constants of the
car were the rules, because if our design didnt meet the requirements then we wouldnt be
able to compete or we would be penalized.
__________________________________________________________________________

Construction Data:
Materials:
1st design
:
- Straws,
-

2 thin sticks

4 bottle caps

A thin string

Materials from the box (Hot glue gun, scissors, tape, etc.)

2nd Design:
-

2 wooden sticks

4 cds

Styrofoam

Materials from the box

3rd Design:
-

Wood sticks

Cds

String

Cardboard base

Sand paper.

Materials from the box

Diagrams:
1st sketch

2nd sketch

Final design

Data (trials):
Trials

Distance (meters)

Trial 1: (1 meter string)

3,96

Trial 2: (1 meter string)

40,1

Trial 3: (1 meter string)

3,99

Trial 4: (1:30 meter string)

4,76

Trial 5: (1:30 meter string)

4,73

Trial 6: (1:30 meter string)

4,89

Trial 7: (1:50 meter string)

5,10

Trial 8: (1:50 meter string)

5,50

Trial 9: (1:50 meter string)

5,30

Trial 10: (1:50 meter string)

5,46

Trial 11: (1:40 meter string)

4,98 meters

Trial 12: (1:40 meter string)

4,95 meters

Trial 13: (1:40 meter string)

5,01 meters

Trial 14: (1:40 meter string)

4,98 meters

Trial 15: (1:40 meter string)

5,02 meters

To begin with, we started with a 1 m. string to test the string method of stopping, the
string method worked but as seen in the trials, the car didnt go far enough. Then we tried
with a string that was longer, 1,30 m. and it worked much better but it still didnt go as far as
we wanted it to go, so we tried again with a 1,50 m. string to see if it was the perfect length
but it ended up being too long. We finally got the right length of string when we tried the 1,40
m. string the car would always go about five meters every time we launched it. Trial and

error was crucial for this part of the design challenge process because we were able to
learn from our mistakes but in the end we got the outcome we wanted.

Construction journal:
1st design:
For our first design we gathered straws, 2 thin sticks, 4 bottle caps, a thin string and other useful materials.
We wanted to start with something simple to see how it works and what we can do better. We built our
design but when we tried to throw it, it was too unstable and the wheels didnt work well.
2nd design:
We started a new design that would be steadier and will allow the wheels and axles to move together. We
stuck the CDs to the wooden axles and the wheels slide smoothly and fastly. They are perfect for the
Kamikaze cars. We added styrofoam connect the wheels and the base, but with styrofoam it didn't work. We
needed to have a better plan
3rd design:
Thisisour3rddesign.Weusedthesamewheels,butwejoineditwithacardboardbaseandusedsandpaperto
holdtheaxlesonthebody.Thiswasourfinaldesign,anditworkedperfectly,thewheels(Cds)rolledsmoothly
amongwiththeaxles.Ourlaststepwouldbetoaddthestringthatwouldbeconnectedtotheaxlestomake
ourcarstopexactlyat5meters.ourfirststringmeasured100cm.Itwasacompletefail!Wetriedwithanother
stringthatmeasured130cm.Itwasalsotooshort.Wemadethestring150cm.Nowthestringwastoolong
andthecarwouldgomorethan5meters.Finally,weaddedtheperfectamountofstringtoourcarthatwas
about140cm.Thecarsstructure,thewheelsandthestringareallworkingperfectlyandsynchronized.

Date

Step

Photo

Scientific

Notes

Concepts
January18, Research

Byresearching

2016

welearned
aboutthe
partsofa
KamikazeCar
andhowto
stopitata

certain
distanceby
usingastring.

January21, Gather

Forourfirst

2016

designwe

Materials

gathered
straws,2thin
sticks,4bottle
caps,athin
stringand
otheruseful
materials.
January21, Wedidour

Wewantedto

Thiswasthe

2016

startwith

firstdesign

something

wemade.

design

simpletosee
howitworks
andwhatwe
candobetter.

January25, Webuilt

Webuiltour

Whenwe

2016

design

triedto

ourdesign

throwit,it
wastoo
unstableand
thewheels

didntwork
well.

January25, Wemadea

Westarteda

2016

completely

newdesign

different

thatwas

design

steadierand
allowedthe
wheelsand

axlestomove
together.

January25, Wehot

Westuckthe

thewheels

2016

glueguned

CDstothe

slide

CDstothe

woodenaxles

smoothly

wooden

andfastly.

sticks

Theyare
perfectfor
the
Kamikaze
cars.

January26, Weadded
2016

styrofoam

the

didntstick

styrofoam

withthe

tothe

wheelsand

design.

itdidnt
workwell.

January,27 Wemade

Thisisour3rd

2015

the3rd

design.We

design

usedthesame

wheels,but
wejoinedit
with
cardboardand
used
sandpaperto
holdtheaxles
onthebody.
Jan,28

Thiswasour

wejusthad

finaldesign

toaddthe
stringthat
willmake
ourcarstop
exactlyat5

meters.

Feb,1

Now,we

Wewiththe

addedastring

100cm

thatmeasured

stringit

100cm.Itwas

didntgofar

acomplete

enoughthen

fail!Wetried

withthe130

withanother

cmstringit

stringthat

wentfarther

measured130
cm.
Feb,3

Wemadethe

butitwas
notperfect

string150cm.
Nowthestring
wastoolong
andthecar
wouldgo
morethan5
meters.
Feb,3

Finally,we
haveadded
theperfect
amountof
stringtoour
car.Thestring
wasabout140
cm.Thecars
structure,the
wheelsand
thestringare
allworking
perfectly.

Maria
The goal of this event was to create a car (following some specific rules) that stopped exactly at 5
meters. At the event day, we first tried our cars for the last time and then we did the exam of the
kamikaze cars. When it was our turn to present, we told our speech to the judges and public. In our
first trial our car stopped at 4.90 meters. We got 90 out of 100 points. After all the participants
finished, we were tied in first place with 3 other groups. At our second trial we got 90 points as well,
and were still tied in first place. At our 3rd trial we got 80 points, so we didn't win. At the beginning of
the event, on our first two trials, our car work perfectly because we had a precise stopping
mechanism that was all in its place. The only reason why we didn't get the full 100 points was
because our clip that would determine our final distance was not well positioned. At our last trial, the
sandpaper that joined the axles with the rest of the car was unglued, and that was a thing that I as a
scientist couldn't do anything about it, it was out of our control. Our limitations were that we had very
little variety of materials, little knowledge and less amount of time than last year. When we tried our
cars at science class (before the event day) our car stopped sometimes at 100 meters. I think that the
reason of that was because our clip was better positioned. Our 5 last trials in science class wh
ere:
4.95 , 4.95 5.01, 4.98, and 5.02. We certainly did much better the day before the Olympiad.
At the event
day, I observed the difference between my car and th
e other cars. My car was made out of cardboard,

sandpaper, two wood cylinders, and 4 cds. That made me think about what would've happened if I
used other materials, for example a wood base instead of carton, Like Victorias car. Or what
would've happened if we used another stopping mechanism, like Alex Ks car? Would our experiment
be more successful? Would that changes make my car any better?

The things that I was most proud of throughout this event was our teamwork, our enthusiasm and
our final result. We made a fabulous job helping each other and dividing our work. We were very
enthusiastic while improving our car and our final result was pretty good even though we were not in
first place. This is why, the only thing I would do If I could do this experiment again would be to glue
gun better everything so at the event day nothing would break. Some feedback I would suggest for
next year in this event is to be sure about the trials we will make because we weren't very sure if the
fourth trial was going to count or not. Some feedback I would suggest for the event is to write less
papers. In almost all the papers we write the same over and over again. I think that we should write it
all on our final report.

Celia

The main goal of the event was to successfully stop the car at exactly 5 meters of distance
with a constant stopping method. In our first trial, we got 90 points, exactly the same
number as the second one which we also got 90 points. I noticed that at the beginning of the
day, our car was working very well, but after the 3 first trials, the trajectory of this one was

not steady and reliable. The three changes that we made were: first, we added more glue on
the sandpaper so the inertia that the ramp created was under control so the car wouldnt go
neither to fast or too slow. The second thing we changed was the way the string was placed.
At first the string would roll around the axles and it would stop the car at an unwanted
place, which was not good. Finally, we decided to find the perfect length of the string so the
axles could work at its maximum amplitude. Our third and final change was the place where
the paper clip was placed. We thought that the paperclip determined which number of points
that our group would get, we moved the paper clip between the axles and the string so it
could help get a steadier trajectory and add more points. Again, what I noticed based on the
event data and the previous one was that at the beginning it worked perfect ( 50m, 48 m,)
and then, it stopped at a very poor place ( 10 points, -5 for rebound). Some of the details that
I thought were important from other groups is that some groups didn't even put effort in
their car. For example, the fact that one group put skateboard wheels to their car, which
creates a disbalance due to the overweight on their wheels and not the base of the car. On
the other hand, I also noticed that lots of the wheels on the car were very well worked.
Specially, their was one that stood out above the others. Their was one that had a balloon
tied to it, which made the car stop at exactly 5 meters and was also their stopping technique.
The limitations of these experiments were little, but it had them. For example, something our
group couldn't control was the fact that our car worked perfectly in the first few trials and
later on, worked horribly. Also, the fact that our car wouldnt stop at exactly 5 meters was
completely out of our control. Some questions that I generated throughout the course of the
olympiad were: How does the string affect the trajectory of the car and how can it stop it?
another question I came up with was : Why are the car impacted by the inertia of the ramp
if it wasnt that big and my final question is: Why does the car need a steadier base that
wheels,

Overall, I am very proud of the results that hard work has produced and the fact that we all
worked as a team and helped each other. In my opinion, I wouldnt have changed a lot to our
car. I think it was very well worked and the production of the car was very satisfactory.
Some positive feedback I would suggest for the event is to have a larger list of materials
that cannot be used. That would help the students come up with very strong and powerful
ideas and not the ones they found on the internet. For the olympiad, I would suggest that the
put a bigger length of what could be 100 points. Even Though, it is very fun and entertaining
to try your best, it would help if the perimeter was longer.
________________________________________________________________________________

Eugene:
Our goal as a team was to make a ramp launched kamikaze car that would stop exactly at a
5 meter distance. On the event day our car worked effectively but it wasnt as precise as we
wouldve wanted it to. On our first trial our car reached the 90 point mark, we found this acceptable
because it was our first try and nervousness and other factors like a different room and a different
floor mightve affected the way we threw the car and the distance it traveled. On our second trial
our car reached the 100 point mark but our paperclip was pointing to the 90 point mark so we were
only awarded 90 points. We quickly changed the paper clip before launching the car for the third
time but it only traveled until the 80 point area, after that we had a few fake tries that would only
count to replace out worst trial and by that time our car started failing, the sandpaper that help the
axles onto the body was unsticking and unfortunately we couldnt fix that during the event day.
Before the event on our last 5 trials our car was going perfectly and it didnt go more than 5 cm
away from 5 meters, even though it took time to get the right length of string, at the end with the
140 cm string our car went perfect.
When we tried our first car it was very clear that we needed a whole new design because the
wheels didnt spin with the axles and the body wasnt sturdy enough, I think this was because our
materials werent sturdy enough and we couldnt glue them well together. Then our second design
was a better idea but again, we failed in using the right materials, styrofoam ended up being too easy
to break and it didnt work. Finally we did our last design which was much better because the only
thing that we had to adjust was the string. In the event our data was different from the previous trials
because when we got the length of string right our car went very close to 5m, but in the event, our car
didnt go that efficiently and we were awarded 90 points in the first 2 trials and 80 points in the third
one.
We were limited to make a more successful project mostly because we had very little prior
knowledge about gravity powered cars and how they worked. If before the event we wouldve
understood more about the topic then while we were building the car we wouldve been able to create
a more successful car for the event day. During the process we had limited supplies and tools. To
make a perfect car we wouldve needed a car made out of wood and metal and proper materials to
be able to work on the wood and metal and finally after the event we couldnt improve our car to
make it more efficient so we were limited in that sense too.
I wonder if we wouldve used the stopping mechanism that Albas group and Alexs group our
car wouldve worked better and stopped more efficiently? I also wonder if we wouldve used more
sturdy materials our car wouldnt have broken in the olympiad? I wonder if we couldve made a new
and different stopping mechanism that wasnt like the string or any method in the olympiad and it
wouldve worked better? Finally, I would like to know if in future science olympiads we could be able
to create a mechanism using a electricity and a motor made by us.

To begin with, I am very proud of our process and even though our car didnt work as well as
we wouldve wanted it to in the olympiad. We used the design and engineering process, made
different designs, changed the string, that's what Im really proud because with this we learned more
about kamikaze cars even though in the end we didnt work that well. By building the kamikaze car I
learned about cars and some of the physics involved in ramp launched cars. I also learned that
making mistakes, in this case helped us create a better outcome the next time we tried, thats why our
kamikaze car kept getting better and better every time we tried a new design. If I had to do
something differently the next time, I would make a sturdier body made out of wood or some kind of
metal and make a different kind of thing to attach the axles to the body, because the one we had was
ok but it eventually unstuck from the body and sometimes it didnt go very well because the axles got
stuck on it and this made our car break at the olympiad.
The event challenge of the Kamikaze Cars in the Olympiad itself this year was a great success.
During the event, most of the the time management was effective, everyone got a turn to do the
speech on the first trial and wind up their stopping mechanism in every trial. Although this way it
worked well, I think that there should be two or three minutes between trials to fix anything that
breaks, that way if a car breaks on the first trial, the team doesnt necessarily need to be out of the
competition. The Olympiad I think was also a triumphant activity. Each event was completed
successfully and it was a positive aspect that there were breaks because students could talk about
how it was going so far and have a break from the nervousness of the event. For next year, and every
year I would include new events and eliminate the ones that dont go that well or that arent so
popular.

Works Cited
"Gravity Vehicle."
Science Olympiad Student Center
. Wikipedia, 8 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.

"Ask the Builder."


Ask the Builder
. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.